Sean Duffy has a mission to "change the world one student at a time," and plans to accomplish it through a hands-on curriculum he developed for Waples Mill Elementary School students.
Leadership Fairfax will recognize the longtime science teacher, and Oakton Patch Readers' Choice winner for Best Teacher, at its annual Northern Virginia Leadership Awards ceremony Nov. 8 at Westwood Country Club in Vienna.
"[I] am honored and pleased and all that about this award, and look forward to meeting the other awardees and other leaders from the NoVa area, and hope to share and exchange ideas on how we can all work together for what is quaintly called 'the greatest common good,'" Duffy said in an email to Oakton Patch.
Over the years, Duffy has turned the Waples Mill Elementary schoolyard into a classroom with the help of students and faculty: He has built a purple martin colony, planted native habitats, created an arboretum, and is currently working on a couple outdoor classrooms — all while tweaking teaching methods to enhance the elementary science, arts and social studies curricula.
"[Duffy] was selected for his efforts in leading and inspiring children to get involved in active learning through an educational journey that involves hands-on, real life experiences," according to a news release from Leadership Fairfax. "His type of teaching and leadership creates a lifetime foundation for children and adults about the importance of Conservation Science."
Duffy's current efforts are focused on "trying to get kids and families and other schools to realize that the future starts NOW," he wrote in an email.
His ever-evolving environmental science curriculum builds on already-existing curricula for science, social studies and three Rs — reading, writing and arithmetic — "to get kids out of their seats and into their schoolyards and their communities, doing good and doing well and learning and making a difference," he wrote.
- Waples Mill Elementary Teacher Turns Schoolyard into Classroom
- Readers' Choice: Best Teacher in Oakton